The root problem which will not go away when the western troops leave, is that there is now such visceral hatred and fear between the two rival sects of Islam, and this is not excluded from the Iraqi army and police, who on present form will in the absence of foreign troops, probably be out of civilian control – and of course there are waiting in the wings, the massive sectarian armed militias. It could take a generation to enable the communities to live together without well justified fear. The path that the US is taking with the only possible successor power to themselves, the elected civilian government, ignores the fact that unlike a ‘proper’ democracy, these politicians are for the most part not elected on any platform of proposed policies, but in the interests of the tribal and sectarian groups from which they come. That can only mean in such a crude and vengeful environment that the sectarian majority will oppress the sectarian minority, who will have no recourse to justice – except that which comes from the barrel of a gun!
Our PRESCRIPTION is that Iraq should quickly become a federation. They should recreate (approximately) the boundaries of the three historic Ottoman provinces that preceded the end of WWI and the subsequent 1932 British creation of an independent state of Iraq, which can be seen to have spectacularly failed under quite different forms of government.
Government of each component province should be strong and a federal government working from a Baghdad enclave, remodelled on Washington’s District of Columbia lines, should be concerned only with such governance (ie foreign policy; divisions of oil-based income, national defence); that cannot effectively be carried out at regional level.
The corollary is that the alliance troops should RIGHT NOW be shepherding ‘displaced’ communities back to where they will be safe from communal murder, once Alliance troops are withdrawn. The awful lesson to be learned is from the terrible communal violence when the British left India and the future Pakistan in 1947, a bloodbath which some estimated as resulting in a million deaths, mostly amongst civilians displaced and seeking to rejoin their own people.